Science and Civilization in Saul Bellow’s Novels Henderson the Rain King and Mr. Sammler’s Planet

In this study both modern and postmodern period writer, Bellow’s novels Henderson the Rain King and Mr. Sammler’s Planet are handled and analyzed in terms of science and civilization. It is seen that in these novels particularly the issues of modern civilization’s state and science of that time is mentioned. Thus, the main purpose of the study is to demonstrate how Bellow deals these issues. Composing the study, literature review method was used. It has been reached that in both of the novels; the writer portrays hopeless and aimless protagonists who are affected by the war and bad days so deeply that they lose their purpose in life. In Henderson the Rain King, the main character feels that his wealthy life cannot fill the void in his life and the voice in his heart always tells, “I want.” The purposeless life leads him to Africa where he finds what he have lost by the help of travelling to the uncivilized villages, befriending natives, living among these people and discussing with them. Likewise, in Mr. Sammler’s Planet the protagonist feels that his life in New York after the war and Holocaust includes immorality of new generation. Therefore, except from lecturing at a university he does not interested in immoral behavior of people surrounding him. In fact, he longs for old days when the people were much more civilized, modern and moral and had purpose in their lives. One can conclude from the study that the issues mentioned and protagonists’ thoughts and their way of living life resembles each other. In addition, both novels reveal the thoughts on science and civilization.


American Literature, science, civilization.

Author : Yasemin AŞCI
Number of pages: 68-81
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.29228/ijla.43786
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International Journal of Language Academy
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